Tuna Tar-Tart

I suck at everything. Probably more than you do. I enjoy experimenting with cheese and playing with glue sticks. You might know me from that other joint, LiveJournal.

Jun 222018
 

7:08am: You’re live-blogging. Great. – Henry under his breath. Well we just left the house but first we have to stop and get new tires put on the car because Henry didn’t think to do this any other time this week ok cool. And he only brought a bottle of water for himself and I flipped out so he said I could just have his and I was like YOU ALREADY DRANK FROM IT SO HOW WILL I KNOW HOW MUCH TO CALCULATE?? because I track my water intake on Fitbit and now we’re fighting about me not being to eyeball that there are approx. 4 ounces gone now from the bottle. Fuck off Henry.

7:11am: “I’m hungry” – Chooch. “I’m thirsty” – me. “The kids have already started” – Henry.

7:30am: UGH TIRE CHANGE STUFF.

“Want me to make you coffee?” Henry just asked and I’m ready to eviscerate him.

7:44am: LEAVING NOW THAT TOOK FOREVER. “It did not!” henry barked. “If we had went to Pep Boys we’d still be there and they’d be trying to sell me everything!”

8:26am: Stopped at Sheetz for a fast breakfast and fucking coffee, man. Here is my traditional gas station bathroom selfie. If I look miserable ITS BC I AM. J/k I’m just old & tired.

Some instrumental version of Gary Numan’s “Cars” was playing in Sheetz and it disagreed with me because I need to hear Gary’s voice, Sheetz. Gary’s voice or GTFO.

8:49am: Speaking of voices, friendly PSA that G-Dragon’s voice in “Cafe” is still one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard in my life, carry on.

8:51am: Speaking of voices Part 2, yesterday I told Henry that Taemin’s voice reminds me of an opulent, ridiculously expensive rich old lady’s shawl from the 1920s. It’s definitely mauve with various elements of silk, crushed velvet and lace. Delicate, but will keep you warm while making you feel pretty.

9:35am: We’re in Evansburg PA whatever that means. Henry said something about stopping to get Dave Mallo Cups on the way back and I swear he said we were stopping at the Gay Palace and I got sooooo excited without even knowing what it was. Also, here is Chooch in the span of 30 seconds:

9:49am: Henry gets so mad when I imitate him because I make him sound like someone from The Hills Have Eyes, drunk off moonshine, whose parents are siblings. “I DONT TALK LIKE THAT! STOP MAKING ME SOUND LIKE THAT! IM GOING TO START TALKING LIKE THAT IN PUBLIC JUST TO EMBARRASS YOU!”

10:04am: Chris just texted me because she’s talking about Kpop with one of the students on the tour in DC she’s guiding (BECAUSE SHE IS A TOUR GUIDE IN CASE YOU DIDNT KNOW) and now that girl and I are Instagram friends thanks to Chris! I need all the Kpop friends I can get!

10:12am: OK I just put on “Love” by Taemin to try and get Henry to understand my elegant, vintage shawl analogy and he still doesn’t get it so I will leave this here and you can tell me if his voice makes you feel like you’re being gently hugged by luxurious French fabric from the 1920s.

No, watch this one instead! This song makes me weep.

10:55am: Just left the second Sheetz of the trip. I drank half a gallon of water and it took me a while to pee. Here is selfie #2 where I look happier because I’m more awake and caffeinated and over the anger caused by the early-morning tire-change.

12:47pm: ANGER HAS RETURNED. Well you see first henry made me use a restroom in a gas station where three of the four stalls were jam-packed with poop and now he has us at a shitty elderly people restaurant that has no meatless options on the menu, not even a grilled cheese, but he won’t leave. Wow.

Fuck this hick place we left and now Henry is so angry because he can’t eat all of the bloody meat. Sorry, I’m not wasting my time and money at a shitty place in a shitty town. Why is it so hard for him to understand that?! “I hate doing this,” he mumbled when we walked out and I’m like, “Why? I have no fucking problems with it. Grow a pair, Henry.” God he’s so spineless sometimes.

For the record, he told me to find somewhere to eat and I found a place that was literally a minute away from the shitty gas station and he drove past once and couldn’t find it and was like OH WELL IT DOESNT EXIST LETS GET BACK ON THE HIGHWAY SO THAT I CAN FIND MORW WAYS TO RUIN YOUR LIFE.

The restaurant was called ARROWHEAD and it has a LIFESIZE NATIVE AMERICAN DOLL BEHIND GLASS and that sounds amazing but I guess it would gone over Henry’s “fun quota” for the day so here we are, hungry and not speaking to each other.

1:43pm: Henry just fed us lunch from a rest stop vending machine. Mmm, Sour Cream & Chives Baked Lays. Really hit the spot. NO, IT DIDN’T. Also I think it’s hilarious that we’re driving through the Poconos, a destination for LOVERS, when Henry and I hate each other lol.

1:56pm: OK now we’re in the drive-thru at Burger King in some town because at least they have veggie burgers and now we’re just in a hurry to get to where we’re going but when the lady asked Henry if he wanted anything else, he said “Yes two cheeseburgers” and I was like “WHOA WHOA WHOA WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU CAN EAT TOO?!”

3:14pm: Somewhere near Newark. Henry and I are sort of talking now. But once we get to the hotel, all bets are off because I’m certain he booked some bed bug box because that’s what he’s known for.

3:20pm OMG you guys it’s not even a Red Roof Inn but a Red CARPET Inn. RED WITH BLOOD STAINS. This place is a dump!! “IT’S ALL I COULD FIND!!!” Henry yelled. Apparently there’s a lot going on in Newark this weekend. !???!

OK fine the actual room is not bad at all. It’s actually kind of big and more importantly – clean.

Chooch and I are watching Henry fetch our bags while singing jingles in a Bullwinkle voice.

LOLOLOL he just yelled YOURE MESSING WITH THE WRONG PERSON.

3:53pm: OMG our Lyft driver has very broken English and is telling us jokes and making us do puzzles on a calculator.

4:09pm: Attempting to go to NYC for a little bit since Newark is a shit town with nothing to do. Henry is asking tourist-y questions so I won’t stand near him.

5:02pm: In Penn Station. We all sat separately on the train and it was heavenly. Chooch made friends with th ppl he sat with of course. Also, Seoul Station is a billion times better.

6:43pm: Sitting in Central Park after Chooch dragged us all around catching Pokémon, so lame. You know what’s not lame though? ACCIDENTALLY RUNNING INTO SUPER JUNIOR NEAR TIMES SQUARE AND CHOOCH GETTING HIS PICTURE TAKEN WITH SHINDOG AND MY HANDS MIGHT STILL BE SHAKING BECAUSE DO YOU KNOW HOW CLOSE HE’S BEEN TO TAEMIN???!!!!

Jun 212018
 

I have two lacerations (some might call them “just cuts”) on my right hand from a soju cap so that pretty much sums up my weekend. Anyway, that’s NEITHER HERE NOR THERE because today’s lowly anticipated blog post is about the latest exciting law firm happenings. I mean, the ones that I can share without getting fired, anyway.

THE LIGHTNING BUG

Debby found a lightning bug on her desk and I was like, “aw yay a lightning bug” and then she was like, “Should I take my shoe off and kill it?” and I cried, “NOOOOO!” but then thankfully Nate came out of his office, scooped the poor bug up into a napkin, and released it outside like a true superhero. I seriously had a heart-palp over this whole thing.

DOWN IN THE UNDERGROUND

(Huge bonus points to you if you heard David Bowie singing in your head when you read that.)

Before I went outside for my daily walk yesterday, I grabbed an umbrella from the Extra Umbrella Stash in a drawer behind Marlene’s desk. I just found out a year ago that this stash exists and then I got yelled at for telling other people without first making them do a Trust Fall, but all of the umbrellas are still accounted for, so I guess my work friends are trustworthy after all.

Even Todd!

Anyway, I grabbed an umbrella because according to my phone, it was probably going to rain at some point while I was out there, but the unfortunate part of the weather app is that it didn’t tell me that it wouldn’t matter if I had EIGHT umbrellas, it was going to be THAT kind of a rainfall.

And of course it started five minutes after I left the office. It came down so fast and hard, as though the sky literally split in half and God employing every industrial strength hose he could find in Heaven to give us a good tough reminder that he could flood us into extinction if WE DON’T STOP PUTTING KIDS IN CAGES.

I mean, it was raining hard, ya’ll.

I ducked into a parking garage for refuge and figured I’d just walk around in there for a bit to at least continue getting steps. I was on the phone with Henry during this, in case you need to check in and verify my story so far.

After about a minute, some older man in a red polo came over and asked me if I needed directions and I was like, “Nope, just hiding from the rain” and he was all “*hearty chuckle*” but then he asked me again, a few minutes later, if I needed help finding my car and I was like, “STILL NO, BUDDY” so I kept walking further underground to get away from him but then some guy was getting out of his car and following me and we were the only people down there on that level and I LOST CELL SERVICE–I thought for sure I was going to die, so I ran into the nearest stairwell and ran all the way back up to the first level where I bumped right into Red Polo Man again.

“Which building are you trying to get to?” he asked, so I told him and he frowned.

“Hmm, well, you can’t get all the way there underground, but you could get to the Gateway buildings across the street if you wanted to.”

“UNDERGROUND?!” I asked incredulously. I was totally perking up at this prospect.

“Yeah, if you go down a level, it’ll take you right under the street to those buildings over there,” he said, pointing out of the garage to the Gateway buildings across the street, which wasn’t getting me any closer to my office but hello, I wanted to walk underground, so I asked him for directions again and set off down the stairs and through a revolving door, which put me into this fucking creepy hallway:

There was some type of power fan that was on, filling the hallway with a loud blowing noise, and of course the only other people in there were questionable-looking men, so I thought for sure I was going to be on the news that night. Luckily, no one bothered me and I made it all the way through the winding walkway and through another set of doors, buy Red Polo Shirt’s directions didn’t go any further than “follow the hallway to the end” so I was like, “DOODOODOO WHICH WAY DO I GO, WHICH WAY DO I GO.” Every door had DANGER WARNING ALARM NOT FOR REGULAR PEOPLE written all over them and I was freaking the fuck out, man. Freaking the FUCK out.

Well, I’m a mole person, now. This is where I live, I thought to myself, shutting down and accepting defeat after 30 seconds because that’s my limit of resourcefulness.

But then some older lady in McDonald’s attire came from somewhere, a sewer maybe, I wasn’t watching, and I cried, “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO.”

“You trying to go outside?” she asked in some type of European accent that I became obsessed with immediately. I nodded like a cartoon puppy being asked if he wants to go for a walk, and she said, “That’s where I’m going, gotta catch my bus, so you can follow me” and she put me onto an elevator WHICH I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TO USE BECAUSE THERE WASN’T A SIGN THAT TOLD ME TO.

She pushed the button for the lobby and said, “They don’t make it easy to figure out how to get out of here,” and I wish I had recorded her saying that because no one is going to believe that this was so difficult.

The elevator dropped us off in the lobby of Gateway 3 and even then, I wouldn’t have known which way to go! Thank god for my new guardian.

By the time I got back to work, my clothes were soaked all the way through and I felt like shit for the rest of the afternoon.

But then Debby told me that she thinks you can also get to one of the trolley stations from under that parking garage so now I want to go back and explore this further.

#BAGELWATCH

Yesterday, Carrie ordered a bunch of bagels from Au Bon Pain and put them on the snack table. A little bit later, I emailed Glenn and Todd and told them that there were bagels there, because I wasn’t sure if they knew.

Todd replied and said he saw them but wasn’t sure if they were for a meeting or something, and I was like, “OK this is a valid quandary,” so I verified with Carrie that yes, they were there for the taking. She said she didn’t want to put them in the kitchen because then that left them vulnerable to non-departmental people who also use the kitchen on our floor.

Several other people started emailing me about the bagels because I apparently am The One Who Knows About the Bagels, and I was starting to think that maybe an email needed to be sent because the people on the other side of the floor might not ever see them, but just then, Debby suggested to Carrie that she should send an email so I was like OH THANK GOD because I hate sending departmental emails. One time, one of the ladies in another department on our floor came back from a meeting and brought extra sandwiches back with her and said, “Hey can you send out an email to your department and let them know these sandwiches are up for grabs?” and I re-wrote that fucking email for 15 minutes like it was a goddamn resignation letter and not just, “Hi Tracy says to help yourselves to the sandwiches by the kitchen.” By the time I was done, it basically just said “sandwiches. kitchen. get ’em.”

The first time I ever sent an email to the department was about the printer being down AND I SPELLED IT “PRINT” INSTEAD OF “PRINTER” IN THE SUBJECT LINE AND WANTED TO QUIT. Yes, that was 8 years ago and it still clearly keeps me up at night, FIGHT ME.

Anyway, Carrie was like, “Sue didn’t tell me to send an email but FINE I WILL SEND ONE” because she too knows the annoyances of sending all-department emails especially when you start getting snarky replies sent to you and it’s like ISN’T ‘DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER’ IMPLIED?!

Meanwhile, Todd was hashtagging this as #bagelwatch in his correspondence to me. He didn’t want to be the first one to get a bagel, and Carrie was like, “DON’T YOU DARE TAKE HIM ONE!” so instead I just emailed him and said, “COLLEEN JUST GOT A BAGEL. COLLEEN BROKE THE BAGEL SEAL. ALL CLEAR TO GET A BAGEL.”

By afternoon, the bagel situation had just about died down but then I happened to catch a glimpse of some STRANGER from another floor helping himself to one of our bagels! He even gave it a hearty smear of cream cheese like it ain’t no thang, like he wasn’t stealing the property of another department, like that wasn’t someone’s lunch he was scarfing, and then he took it into the conference room on our floor and ate it while talking on the phone and looking out the window!

I have no idea who that thief was but he is so freaking lucky that Debby wasn’t at her desk when that happened because she is the Guardian of the Snack Table and she has no qualms about telling passers-by to drop the Twinkie and back away from the table.

#bagelwatch indeed.

****

Well guys, that’s all for today. We leave tomorrow morning for KCON! It’s in Newark again (boo) but I’ll probably liveblog on the way there because I have been feeling so nostalgic for road trips lately!

P.S. Semi-work-related: Wendy and I had lunch at Villa Reale with BARB today and she said she’s impressed that I’m still obsessed with k-everything and that this might be the longest I’ve ever been obsessed with something and Wendy quickly interjected to say, “No–Jonny Craig” and then they both admitted that Taemin is super beautiful, the most gorgeous man in the whole world, even (well, second to Tom Jones, if you ask Barb).

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Jun 202018
 

It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a year already since Henry’s grandson Calvin was born! It’s been a lot of fun watching him grow and now he’s a regular walking machine!

Blake and Haley had a birthday party for him last Saturday at South Park and they really went all out–it was such a cute set-up. They wanted everyone to sign the frame around that picture of Calvin up there and of course Chooch was like, “I WANT TO BE FIRST” and then proceeded to write BAMBI super big on it, like WTF WHY?! I was so angry and then Blake and Haley saw it and were equally as angry and Chooch was like, “YOU SAID TO SIGN MY NAME AND MY NAME IS BAMBI.”

Why is my kid so freaking weird sometimes?

Wait.

Don’t answer that.

Anyway, I diffused the situation by having him write in small letter “You’re cuter than” on top of the “Bambi,” and then “Love, Riley” beneath it. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Speaking of “you’re,” one of Haley’s friends signed it “You’re favorite aunt” instead of “Your” and so then Chooch got booted out of the hot seat. Whew.

You guys, these were the cutest cookies and they were goddamn delicious. I’ll be getting all my future party cookies from Give Mia Cookie now, I guess. We’ve had their regular bakery cookies and brownies before, and those are equally as delicious. If you’re local to Pittsburgh, give this place all of your business!

I love when a cookie meets my aesthetic and taste requirements.

Blake and Haley are the sweetest, most natural parents. I can’t believe I’ve known Blake since he was 8 and now here he is, being the coolest dad ever. AND HALEY IS PREGNANT AGAIN! She officially announced it last month so I’m OK to blab about it now. It was so hard not saying anything because I love spreading good news.

And here he is, the cutest little maknae of the family! It’s been a lot of fun having them living next door to us too. Henry will text Blake and be like, “Can Calvin come out and play?” He was sad last night because Blake was like, “NO HE’S DRINKING HIS MILK AND GOING TO BED, GO WATCH THE NEWS OR SOMETHING, DAD.”

We were kind of holding our breath when Calvin was born because we thought Chooch would have a lot of resentment since he’s so attached to Blake, but he actually takes his uncle role very seriously and Calvin freaking lights up when he sees him.

I bought Calvin some Korean children’s books so that we can learn together, haha. After I bought them, I realized that I’m the only one who will be able to read them to him because there isn’t any romanization in them (thank god, though, really) and I’m not a huge fan of reading books BUT I WILL DO IT FOR CALVIN. My goal is for him to someday be able to read the “I Love My Mom” book to Haley in Korean.

Anyway, it was a really nice afternoon and my mom even came! She got him this hip hop ABC book, lol. Calvin is going to be so well-rounded.

I’m excited for when he can ride things at Kennywood, go to haunted houses, and choose a Kpop bias. You know, things I’m interested in. Maybe after three more birthdays.

Jun 192018
 

In a few days, Warped Tour is launching into its final summer tour. This will be my 13th and last Warped Tour and I have a lot of feelings about this.

I’m not as upset about it as I might have been a few years ago. Even just two years ago. The obvious reason might be that I’m just more into Korean music now and haven’t been keeping up with that scene, and that’s a little bit correct. But the truth is that Kpop actually helped me distance myself from a music scene spilling over with domestic violence, statutory rape, and complete disdain and disrespect for the female members of that community.

I know that “rock-n-roll” has always been synonymous with lewd behavior but when guys in bands are using their “status” to abuse girls in various ways, that’s just unacceptable and I’m sick of hearing the excuses of “she asked for it” or “he was drunk” or “he didn’t know she was underage.” Maybe it’s me getting older and having less tolerance for bullshit, or maybe I have some latent feminism in me after all, but the last several years have made me so angry and disappointed, when all I wanted to do was go to shows and support the bands I loved. You can argue that these things should be kept separate from the music, but….should they really? Should we really turn a blind eye just because we like the songs that a date-rapist sings on stage to 200 people at a dive bar?

It started with Jonny Craig. I loved his music, I loved his voice, I loved the bands he was in, and I really loved seeing him perform live—even when he was too fucked up to remember the lyrics. But there comes a point when too many girls start speaking out, and it’s hard to ignore that. It’s hard not to believe it. And it’s hard to keep supporting someone like that.

Yet, he continues to have some semblance of a career because the #MeToo movement isn’t taken as seriously in this music scene, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the immature sheep-mentality of the kids* who follow these bands who continue to blindly support their monster idols, which makes the record labels more reluctant to drop these bands because $$$$$. Maybe it’s the fact that this is such a male-dominated scene and bros would rather defend their rapist/abuser homies than grow a fucking backbone and leave the band or the tour.

*(The girls who still defend him make me sick to my stomach and I hope that someday they grow up and realize what a disservice they did as a representative of our gender. And I hope that they don’t have a daughter who becomes a victim to some asshole’s testosterone-fueled entitlement.)

And that brings us to Warped Tour, which continually books bands who are notorious for misogynist behavior, or have members who assault women on the tour bus, or whose drug addiction is a danger to themselves and everyone around them. It’s really hard for me to justify my decision to attend this festival, which has becoming nothing more than a breeding ground for sex-violence. I will be the first to admit that I am a fucking hypocrite because I bought a ticket for the last ever tour, knowing that, for instance, Falling In Reverse will be there, a band with a singer who is notorious for his history of domestic violence.

But I know that there are also a lot of bands there who AREN’T like that, who ARE pure in their intentions, and there are great organizations and charities who will be there as usual. Is that enough to counteract the dark side of Warped? Eh…nope.

There was speculation that Warped was calling it quits because of all the recent bands who have been accused of sexual harassment/violence over the last several years, or the fact that attendance has been dropping, but the founder of Warped Tour denies that. Still, one can’t help but wonder.

Let’s see if these jackass boys can behave themselves for one final summer run.

Jun 182018
 

Can you tell that I’ve been supremely dragging my feet with these posts? I know it’s annoying to everyone else that I have approx. 87 posts about a 10-day trip and that we’ve been home for over two months and I still haven’t closed the book on it, but you have to remember that I’m the girl who can stretch Warped Tour into 6 blog posts plus a gratuitous Henry Interview Extravaganza.

And I’m not even sponsored!

So on that note, here is what we did for the rest of our final full day in Seoul, holy shit I didn’t expect to start crying as I typed that, yet here we are.

For the last night, we finally gave in to Chooch’s desire for SUPER KOREAN FUN TIMES, which involved pizza (specifically, “gold” pizza, more on that in a bit) and noraebang, which is Korean karaoke (literally translates to ‘song room’). Let’s be real, you can’t go to South Korea and not partake in some noraebang because it is a super popular pastime of native Koreans. There are noraebangs everywhere, on nearly every street, in alleys, in every neighborhood and district.

But first he had to suffer through last minute souvenir shopping in Insadong, haha. What every 12-year-old boy wants!

This was when Henry abandoned us in Insadong because he wanted to exchange more money and Chooch somehow inherited two balloons from some people promoting the Alive Museum and then some older Korean man came over and tried to pretend-steal one from Chooch and even with a language barrier, we all managed to have a great big international laugh and these are the heart-warming things that happens when Henry abandons us.

The plan after Insadong was to walk back to the hotel, where Henry would meet us later with pizza procured from a place that Chooch had zeroed in on the day before when we were walking to the palaces. We figured we’d just eat in our room and then set off to Myeongdong for noraebang.

But then Henry came back and was like, “DON’T GET TOO EXCITED” because the pizza was just REGULAR, not GOLD. Apparently, the menu that Chooch saw was for a pizza place that was there previously and now this new one had a different menu which was all in Hangeul and hey you guys, I spent many months leading up to this trip trying to get Henry to learn how to at least read it and he was all, “I DON’T NEED NO HANGEUL.”

Yeah, until you do!

Anyway, Henry felt obligated to buy a pizza from this joint because he had already frustrated the guy working there enough I guess, and it was great pizza, you guys! It really was. But it was extremely similar to American pizza and it was not want we wanted. We wanted that Korean flair.

So we decided to venture on out to the Cheonggyecheon Stream where we saw a place called Mr. Pizza on our second night in Seoul.

But first! We got no further than across the street from the hotel before I realized I left my subway card in the room so Henry obediently went back inside to get it. For some reason, like we need a reason, Chooch and I were nearly peeing our pants in anticipation of seeing our hotel room light turn on, I don’t know why this was such a crucial comedic moment for us, but then it never happened because Henry was all, “I didn’t need to turn it on.” Whatever. At least Chooch nabbed this frameable picture of Henry on his way back to us:

I can only imagine what Chooch and I looked like to passers by, as our raucous laughter caused us to fall into each other like drunks.

This reminds me that I never talked about (lol, like this is a talk show) how we accidentally got lost from Henry the night before on our way to Hongdae. We were walking to one of the Jongno subway stations when Chooch and I stopped to look at jewelry in a store window. I thought dumb Henry knew we stopped but he kept walking and by the time we looked up from the window, WE WERE ABANDONED.

This was like the theme of Korea now that I think about it.

Anyway, we were mildly panicked because there were two subway stations near us and weren’t sure which one he was going to, so we chose the closest one and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And eventually, this happened:

He didn’t realize we weren’t with him anymore until he turned around to hand us our subway cards.

“You couldn’t tell that you didn’t hear us laughing anymore?” I asked.

“No, because I block that out,” Henry mumbled.

Random alley picture because I don’t even want to forget those narrow Korean alleys that pop off once the sun sets.

When we got to Cheongyecheon, we were excited to see that another night market was going on! It was so tempting to just pig out on all the food vendors there, but we had a fucking pizza to scratch off the Korea bucket list, goddammit. To Mr. Pizza!

Gold pizza level achieved!

So, one notorious thing about Korean pizza is that “gold crust” means that it’s made with sweet potato — I fucking love sweet potato but nothing is better than Korean sweet potato, my friends. It’s like candy. Also, corn! Somehow, corn is as synonymous with pizza in Korea as pepperoni is here.

I just asked Chooch what his Mr. Pizza review is and his eyes got all bugged out. “Yum,” he said, with a very ‘duh’ inflection.

But yeah, so worth it and I’m glad we didn’t settle on the other normal pizza!

I just also asked Henry if he liked Mr. Pizza and he said, “Yeah!” with an actual modicum of enthusiasm because he’s trying to keep me from leaving him so he’s suddenly Boyfriend of the Year.

Also, I was excited because I got to push the button on the table to get the waitress to come and bring us a box! I always wanted to push the button!!!

Afterward, we took  the subway to Myeongdong. I chose Myeongdong for our final night because that area rules and we hadn’t experienced it at night before then.

“Are you sure there are noraebangs here?” Henry asked, and I was like, “Uh yeah, le duh” because where aren’t there noraebangs, is the real question. Funny though how as soon as you’re looking for one, they’re suddenly gone, like those little trolls from Labyrinth were flipping over the signs before we walked past. Also, I did notice that most of these places don’t have any English on the signs, so unless it’s a really big, touristy noraebang with big windows in the front to let you see in, you might walk past 59 of them without ever knowing. So if you’re planning to go to Korea and want to sing your face blue in one of these joints, look for this word: 노래방

We eventually found one (not like we were bored looking for one though; Myeongdong is so freaking vibrant and upbeat at night, even on a Sunday!) called Sing Sing. When we walked in, Henry was like, “OH” because it reeked like a dive bar and was pretty dark and creepy, but I loved the atmosphere! It felt more authentic than the shiny, bright ones in Gangnam and Hongdae. This one felt like a place where locals would hang out, and we were definitely not the only ones there.

Henry paid the nice boy approximately 20,000 won for an hour and he lead us into our own private room, gave us a brief tutorial on how to work the remote, and then let us have our privacy to hold faux Produce 101 auditions.

Chooch’s first song was a goddamn Maroon 5 song and we were like, “Oh.” Then he sang something else that was dumb too, while I flipped through the book to find him something cool to sing.

Guys, the rooms even come with tambourines.

I had no intentions of doing any singing because I’m just not into that. And that’s when I saw it.

“Even the Night’s Are Better” by Air Supply.

Air Supply, you guys.

“Henry, you’re singing this with me,” I ordered, tossing him a mic and punching in the number.

“Wha—?” he stuttered, and then the song started and he was like, “Are you kidding.”

I immediately launched into my famous brand of shriek-singing on top of a bed of throaty giggles, while Henry mumbled along, and Chooch stared at me with the most appalled and disgusted look on his face.

“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?” he cried when the song ended.

“God, I forgot how great I sing!” I said, and Henry was just like, “No.” I think it brought back his PTSD from all the Saturday nights we spent at McCoy’s on karaoke night. I think my crowning moment was the time I sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and called for audience participation. The weathered broad who ran karaoke there, DJ Danger (lol), haaaaated me with such a passion and actually got to the point where she would make executive decisions and veto my song choices.

WELL THEN DON’T PUT THEM IN YOUR SONG BOOK, BITCH.

Anyway, back to noraebang, we also sang SHATTERED DREAMS and Chooch was like WHAT IS HAPPENING AM I HALLUCINATING, OR….

“Ugh, I wish they had Skater Boi!” Chooch groaned, flipping through the book 7800 times. I knew they had it because I saw it but I lied and said they totally 100% did not have that song or any other Avril Lavigne songs because she has a lawsuit out against noraebangs, but then I felt bad and said FINE HERE IT IS, SING YOUR DUMB HEART OUT.

But the grand finale was Chooch and me dueting with….

CAN YOU GUESS?!?!

CALL ME MAYBE.

Our theme!

Oh good lord, we were so sweaty by the time our hour was up, and our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, and my throat hurt from going ham on Air Supply, and it was just the perfect way to end our time in Korea. I especially loved how we could hear people singing in other rooms every time we paused to find our next song.

It was so good! Don’t skip out on noraebang if you’re in Korea! DON’T!!

Here I am in the noraebang bathroom!

Here’s Chooch under the noraebang sign!

Myeongdong!

We capped off the night with ice cream from Milky Bee.

My hand looks so weird here. Henry’s pose, tho.

On our walk back to the hotel from the Jongno subway station, we stopped at a snack shop and I stocked up on some Korean candies for my International Candy Pumpkin at work and had to snap this picture because I’ve had some these corn sticks in there before and at first my work friends were skeptical but then grew to love them.

OK, maybe “love” is a stretch, but they ate them. There were so many different varieties in Korea! Back at the hotel. Chooch and I collapsed and Henry did all the packing while muttering things like, “Just lay there, assholes. Sure, I’ll do everything. Don’t help me.”

I don’t even know how to end this. This was so much more than just a vacation, though. It was a dream come true and a really amazing thing to experience with my little family unit. But, all good things, am I right? We’re hoping to go back again next summer, because there are other cities we want to explore in addition to Seoul and Busan, and plus there was so much in Seoul alone that we weren’t able to get to.

So, if you read all of these or followed along with us on Instragram, thank you! You’re the real MVP!

“OMG I don’t want to hit ‘publish’ on this because once I do, it’s done. It’s over. It’s really over,” I just wailed to Henry. “UNLESS YOU WRITE YOUR OWN RECAP!!!!”

And do you know what he said?

“We’ll see.”

THAT MEANS YES!

Jun 142018
 

Today was otherwise clouded by negative thoughts and feelings so I wanted to list three good things instead of complaining about life and the sleazy Yinzer couple making out in the Strip during my walk.

Ugh.

  1. I got to see Patty today! She came to the Law Firm to visit and I believe it was her first time back since her surgery in 2016. (#fuckcancer) Wendy, Sue and I went upstairs to see her and she had quite the welcoming committee already gathered! It was nice to see that, and even better to see her. On the way back down to our floor, I commented that I barely know anyone from other departments since there’s no reason for us to actually travel to other floors, and all of my communication with lawyers and their assistants is done via email. “Oh I knew everyone up there,” Wendy bragged. Ugh, Wendy.
  2. One more week until KCON!! I’m not too thrilled that it’s in Newark but I’ve been reading old liveblogs from our various road trips (like this one,* which I had Chooch read and he was losing his shit over it because he’s my #1 fan!) because I’m a nostalgia whore, and I’m pretty exciting about the road trip aspect of it. We haven’t road-tripped since last October!
  3. I watched this as soon as I came home from work and it was like my psyche was a cat and this video was a nice person lovingly stroking it with bristled-gloves. Never underestimate the power of music. This video lifted my spirits so fast because these guys are the epitome of getting up, dusting yourself off, and forging through another day. SHINee forever. And ever and ever.

https://youtu.be/GVR5Jx3aNRM

*(Speaking of that referenced live blog, ever since I re-read it last week I have been re-obsessed with Mr Happy Burger and found some poor quality YouTube videos about it which I forced Henry to watch and he was just like, “I still don’t get why you thought that place was so great though.”)

Jun 132018
 

Hey, Chooch here! The last day of Korea went by with many tears and broken heart fragments left behind. The morning was the same as any morning in Korea, with my feet still sore from the pain and agony of the hills and miles we walked the night before. Although, we never know what we are going to do next during the day. I’m pretty sure this day was actually planned; we were going to Itaewon. We took the saddening subway, not because it was gross and disgusting in there, GOD NO! It was pretty much our last time hearing the beautiful subway jingle. I heard the *bloop* as my tear hit the floor. We made it to Itaewon, it was still early so nothing was open, except for the convenience stores that are open 24 hours; like every convenience store. We walked around and noticed that the streets were not cleaned yet after all of the clubbing and drunks the night before.

[Ed.Note: Chooch makes it sound like Itaewon was some unsavory area but it’s just a neighborhood that’s a popular hangout and go-to for bars and clubs. Seoul in general was pretty squeaky clean as far as litter goes which is a mystery considering how challenging it was to find garbage cans!]

As I wept inside my mind just thinking of leaving, I noticed the Line Friends flagship, the main one we were looking for the whole 10 days we were there. The reason we could not find it was because it just wasn’t listed on any website. The main thing that made this particular store so special was because this one sold BTS’ line of animals; BT21. Sadly, they were not for sale the day we went, otherwise we definitely would have got one or two. Other than that, I was promised something from this store because of the agony I went through during our journey through complex Gangnam, you know the city we almost died in because Henry got us lost and said, “Oh. There is no subway we can take to get there faster.” Although, we went back to our hotel through the subway down the street from where we went.

These are the BT21 animals that weren’t on sale. I found it hilarious how the horse/unicorn character is on his head. You know what? It probably isn’t a unicorn. If it was his horn would be snapped either completely or in half.

In the Line Friends store, there were many rooms, being used by the mascots for the company. The one I am in is Brown’s room. He was the most popular.. I should say the main mascot for Line. I should say what Line Friends is. DUH. Line Friends is owned by Line, a messaging company as like Kakao. Koreans use Line, or Kakao instead of the actual texting apps on their phones, I guess because it’s more aesthetic?

Staircase with the BT21 characters on the individual steps. My favorite character is the little cookie! He comes in a group and is just flat down cute.

Sally was my favorite character. No, Sally is not the rabbit on the ceiling of the yellow room, that is it’s own room. Sally is the chick you can see painting through the red, round window. I actually got a stuffed Sally. She is dressed up as a chicken, a grown up version of herself. I don’t love her as much as Peachy Boi “Apeach” from Kakao, though. Peachy Boi is definitely the best of all of Kakao and Line Friends, but Line Friends does have those BT21 character, so I’ll give em’ that.

Turkish ice cream in Itaewon 🍦

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

This guy was really cool! I ordered Turkish ice cream an I guess to show that the ice cream is sticky and sturdy, the man was taunting me by flipping the cone upside down and around, trying to make me grab it, but quickly pulled it back. He then proceeds to tap my nose with THE ICE CREAM. I don’t think he realized, and I really don’t care, but, “DARN YOU, MAN!”

As a conclusion to this post, here are 5 things to know before you travel to Korea.

Number 5: You should know some Korean, if not all. Entering stores, Koreans may not always say hello. They might say Annyeonghaseyo, or 안녕하세요, which is Korean for “Hello!” You would also need to know some Hangul, the Korean alphabet, because you may have to read menus/signs.

Number 4: Be aware of the ajummas, or the old women. They may seem like they hate you, but really, they stare at and push everyone. Don’t feel special.

Number 3: Learn how the currency works. If you don’t understand, obviously, you will not know how to trade in the U.S Dollar for Korean Won. $1 is equal to about ₩1.

Number 2: Know that Northeastern Asia is very mountainous and steep. Many interesting cultural villages are located on a mountain or hill. A VERY STEEP HILL. On the other hand, the pleasant hand, the trek is worth it. The view is also very delightful, from the top and from the bottom.

Number 1: Finally, know how to read a map. It is NOT very hard, especially if you were in the service for a long period of time. You need to know how to read a map because you may want to go  somewhere on the subway and you might not know how to get there, so you need to read a map. If you don’t know how, you will probably get your family and yourself lost.

In conclusion, those are some things you need to know before traveling to South Korea.

Jun 122018
 
  1. Brookline Machete

One morning last week, I was walking by Lauren, who eschewed all socially acceptable versions of salutations and instead exclaimed, “Erin, where is your machete?!” She was in the process of struggling to open a box of crackers as she said this so I thought she was facetiously seeking the aid of a machete. BUT NO! She was literally asking where my machete was because apparently a bar in my neighborhood had been robbed by someone wielding a machete!

Now, it’s pretty common knowledge among work cohorts that I have, and am terrified of, a machete in my house. So it was hilarious to me that there were several others in addition to Lauren who also said that they thought of me immediately when they saw this on the news. Oh I love my reputation.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard of this robbery so I went back to my desk and Googled it, and came upon this awesome write-up:

OK, some thing to note:

2. Twitter Crazy

The other night, I got notification that some old ass tweet of mine from April 2008 had been liked and retweeted. Super random, so I decided to investigate and it turns out that this Helen lady who is Twitter verifed and followed by Skrillex (lol) was challenged to tweet something crazy and the first thing she found was this tweet of mine from 10 years ago, which has now been RT’d several more times and liked by a bunch of weirdos when the reality is that I really think this was true when I tweeted it!!

3. I Looked Like This One Day Last Week

4. ART RAGE

Two Friday nights ago, I realized that the last day of school was fast approaching and told Chooch to log on to his student portal thing so I could get a feel for what his last report card would look like and that’s when I was shocked—NAY, TRAUMATIZED—to see that he had his first C ever in the history of Chooch attending school.

A ‘C’ IN ART.

ART!!!

HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?!

I was getting more and more worked up and he was like, “LOOK IT’S NOT ME, IT’S HER, SHE HATES ME AND SHE THINKS I SUCK AT ART!” and he was crying about it a little bit by now so after I made him swear 8 times that this wasn’t because he misses some classes occasionally on the days he goes to the gifted center, and that he doesn’t have any unfinished projects, I searched for this broad’s contact info on the school’s website and then stabbed out an email to her. Chooch wouldn’t let me send it until he read it over because he wanted to make sure I hadn’t “called her the c-word” in my blind rage.

He adjusted some things but then gave me the OK to hit send.

It was terse, but professional. I told her that as an artist myself (LOL, I mean, I guess I used to see my stuff on Etsy so that must give some artist street cred?), I appreciated that public schools offered art classes but that it made me sad that instead of finding it to be a therapeutic and joyful (lol) experience, my son was panicked and dreading it.

Anyway, she emailed me back the following Tuesday with a scanned attachment of CHOOCH’S UNFINISHED PROJECT and said that she gave it to him to work on at home and that if he returned it completed, she would change his grade. Oh, and that she also sent him home with some markers, as he told her that he doesn’t have ANY ART SUPPLIES AT HOME.

YOU LITTLE SHIT, I LITERALLY JUST TOLD HER IN THE EMAIL THAT YOU PROOFREAD THAT I’M AT ARTIST AND NOW SHE PROBABLY THINKS I’M A LIAR!

Oh, also he would prefer to spend the class talking to his friends and this part I know for sure is FACT.

So then I had to eat crow and apologize to her and that, while Chooch might not be the best artist, HE SURE IS A GREAT ACTOR.

There were people following along with this Shakespearean tragedy at work.

“Wow, this story is very layered,” Lou said when I vented about it in the office kitchen and you know I must have really needed to talk about this if I was TALKING TO LOU.

Wendy thought it was hilarious.

So did Glenn and Amber, of course.

I couldn’t wait to get home and verbally annihilate the little brat-face, but then he threw a wrench in my anger by giving me MORE INSIGHT INTO THE DRAMA!

So his side is that she hates him (I can partially believe this; she practically defenestrated herself when she saw us approaching her classroom last year during Open House and then said she had to go to a meeting while literally RUNNING OUT OF THE ROOM. Wow.

Anyway, Chooch’s defense was, “DO I TALK TO MY FRIENDS IN CLASS? YES! I TALK TO THEM ABOUT THE PROJECT, HOW I HATE THE PROJECT, HOW I HATE THAT CLASS!” and that also his project wasn’t incomplete in his eyes. The assignment was self-portrait but he doesn’t like drawing people so he drew a blimp because he identifies as a blimp? I have no idea, he lost me there. But then the art teacher was all, “ROAR ROAR ROAR YOU DID THIS WRONG” and he was all, “I THOUGHT ART WAS ABOUT SELF-EXPRESSION!?” and she was like, “NOT WHEN I’M TEACHING IT, DO IT THE WAY I ASKED” and then he didn’t want to color it either because in his eyes he’s a gray-scale blimp which makes sense because isn’t that what color they are? So then he had to bring markers home to color in his new self-portrait since he lives in a house devoid of all art supplies because his parents don’t believe IN THE ARTS and his finished project was himself spray-painting the word “blimp” on a brick wall.

5. Penelope-Sanctioned Snuggles

This happened one day after work last week for a few seconds. I’m not sure if you can tell by her face, but she doesn’t like being cuddled unless it’s bedtime and she’s come to make our sleep as uncomfortable as possible.

6. G-Dragon, the Melania of Korea

The subject of G-Dragon came up in an email chain going on last week between me and my work-group of Amber, Lauren, Todd and Glenn. I mean, I don’t know WHO would have brought him up…but then Lauren was inspired to google him since I don’t sit over on their side anymore to blurt out GD-updates on a whim, and she replied all to ask me if I knew how his ankle surgery went since that was the most recent thing her search brought up, and you guys, that was MID-MAY. I actually didn’t have more information than that because none of the Korean sites have said anything more than he was admitted to a hospital to have the surgery, which allegedly went well, and then was expected to be released back to the military once he recovered BUT HAS HE RECOVERED OR…?!

I even asked Twitter and no one answered me. Fuck you, Twitter.

7. Fifty First Drews

One day last week, I had my hair in a ponytail, but I guess it was positioned differently, maybe it was lopsided, up higher than usual, who knows, but Drew DID NOT RECOGNIZE ME and she looked like she was hunting prey the way she kept her eyes locked on me as she slowly crept closer. It was super stupid. Oftentimes, she and Penelope act like it’s their first day in our house and we have to wait patiently for them to assimilate.

Anyway, this picture was taken after she calmed down and accepted my new (?) look.

8. SHINeepalooza!

Pretty much spent all last week watching every single SHINee stage on all of the music countdown shows (of course they lost to BTS on every single one too and you know I love BTS but COME THE FUCK ON BTS, GO HOME AND LET SOMEONE ELSE WIN A LITTLE TOO, FUCK) and also their new reality show which is FUCKING ADORABLE and I just have the hardest time comprehending how Taemin can be such a brooding God on stage and then be the biggest seal-clapping dork in real life. IT MAKES ME LOVE HIM EVEN MORE.  I love this part of their show where they’re touring the SHINee exhibit of the SMTown museum and the rest of SHINee keeps scolding him for touching everything.

Give SHINee some love you guys, and help Jonghyun’s memory alive. <3

Well, that’s pretty much all of the things that happened last week that are worth noting.

Jun 102018
 

Somehow a weekend that included a dentist appointment ended up being one of the nicest ones I’ve had in a while.

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS TO SHOW WHY.

First of all, we had our first group-hang with Tommy and Jessy since 2016! HOW DID THAT MUCH TIME GO BY!? Henry was trying to play it cool and coy but he was stoked to resurrect his bromance with Tommy. And Tommy was stoked to get to torture Chooch again.

He was literally saying, “LEAVE ME ALONE” right before I snapped this picture.

Anyway, we met them out in Oakmont at a small family restaurant called What’s Cookin’ Casey? and while there were some annoyances, I think we overall agreed that it was a good choice. The annoyances had nothing to do with the food and service, but the seating arrangement was kind of haphazard and even though we were in a booth, the tables that were set up in the middle of the floor were situated in such a way that we felt extremely crowded and boxed in. In fact, I started to have flashbacks of a similar discomfort and I realized that I had been there several years ago with Evonne and Wendy, and Evonne’s friend Barbara, and experienced the same panicked I MIGHT BE STUCK IN THIS BOOTH FOREVER collar-tugging sensation.

Meanwhile, Tommy was searching and squinting at the menu like he was prepping for the SATs, trying to find the “vegan” option that he swore he saw earlier when he looked at the menu online, and then finally acquiesced and said, “I think what happened was that I saw ‘veal’ and read it as ‘vegan.’ Oh well, sorry Erin.”

I was content with my rigatoni and marinara, though!

The other annoyance was the ASSHOLE KID IN THE BOOTH BEHIND US WHO FUCKING KICKED THE BACK OF THE BOOTH THE ENTIRE TIME AND JESSY, CHOOCH AND I WERE IN A STATE OF SLOW-SIMMER. At one point, we heard a huge BANG, CRASH and it turned out that little fucked fell off his booster seat, what a dumb shit.

Henry, who was sitting on the Safe Side of the table, mind you, kept trying to White Knight this little hooligan by pointing out that he “was little, like three” and that “it’s his parents’ fault, not his” but Chooch finally was like, “OK I see your lips flapping but I’m not hearing what you’re saying” and then stood up and said, “COULD YOU PLEASE STOP KICKING?” in the most terse, faux-polite, BOY ON THE EDGE voice I’ve ever heard come out of him and we all just collapsed in laughter.

At one point, the boy left the booth, presumably to go to the bathroom (good luck squeezing through the tables of elderly people, kid) but then he stopped next to our booth and FUCKING STARED AT US WITH THESE HUGE-ASS ALIEN EYES and he had super blond, lightning white hair like he just Uber’d here from Village of the Damned.

So fucking bizarre! We all just stared back at him, totally bullying this three, maybe four year old kid with our eyes, until he finally went back and sat down with his family.

MAYBE YOU HAD TO BE THERE but it was chilling.

Henry ordered a burger and Jessy became entranced by the pickles on his plate. So she asked the waitress to bring her one and she came back with a whole bowl of them! Jessy hadn’t even officially finished offering them to us before Chooch and I attacked the bowl with our dirty orphan mitts. WE ARE A HOUSEHOLD OF PICKLE-LOVERS. There were a bunch left over and Chooch tried to put the entire bowl in his pizza to-go box but Henry busted him and was like, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT, THAT’S STEALING” so then Chooch dumped the pickles out into the box and then somehow got pickle juice all over his leftover pizza so congratulations on ensuring that Henry and I won’t dip into your leftovers, son.

I’d eat pizza with pickles on it, but something about pickle juice makes me feel sick.

And by something I mean everything.

Sorry, Snooki.

Chooch and his pickle pizza.

Henry has been obsessing over our waitress’s ear tattoo ever since. “THAT HAD TO HAVE HURT!” he cried today when he brought it up out of nowhere.

After dinner, we walked across the street the Brr-Kees, where I immediately had ordering remorse.

For some reason, I wasn’t prepared for this place to have hard ice cream and had already in my mind pictured Future Erin eating up some soft-serve, so when I was met a few minutes later with numerous ice cream flavors, I panicked and Henry was like, “COME ON, ERIN, YOU’RE UP” and so I blurted out, “KEY LIME, I DUNNO!” and it was not great.

I ate half and then gave the rest to Henry, who had just finished a strawberry shortcake sundae, but that’s Henry’s role in our family. He takes the extra calories for the team.

If it were just the three of us, I would have pouted but Tommy and Jessy were with us and the bigger picture was that getting ice cream was just an excuse to extend our hang-out sesh anyway, so I was content!

But you guys! While we were in line waiting for our ice cream, THE EVIL TOW-HEADED KID AND HIS STRANGE FAMILY ROLLED UP! We started laughing so hard and I’m sure it was obvious what was going on, so this made Henry bristle because HE HATES SCENES.

Oh man, that kid’s frog-eyed stare though. It will haunt me.

Tommy tortures him.

And Chooch tortures Henry!

Then some lady came by with two golden doodles and Jessy, Chooch, and I got to pet them for an extended amount of time because their owner was super talkative and told us all about their lives as therapy dogs (well, the younger one is still in-training). She was a cool broad and her dogs were beautiful, so that was a nice highlight!

At one point, Jessy asked Henry if he’d ever go back to Korea and HE SMILED, YOU GUYS, HE SMILED AND EMPHATICALLY SAID, “OH, YES.” And then when she asked him what his favorite part was, he didn’t hesitate to say, “The markets.”

I finally found something that all three of us love equally and not just tolerate for the sake of one of us.

Great time hanging out with great friends. I know that schedules and responsibilities get in the way, but I am going to push to see them more regularly like we used to. Plus, it’s good for Henry’s self-esteem because Jessy is always complimenting him and Tommy talks to him about boy stuff.

And then today, we took a family walk in one of my favorite cemeteries – Uniondale. This is where we typically have our Xmas picnics, but it occurred to me today that it’s been a minute since we spent any time there; I needed some steps and Chooch is back on the Pokemon Go* bandwagon for whatever reason so we dragged Henry with us and it was actually really nice with zero arguing!

*(Apparently, Blake plays too so now that he lives next door, he comes over all the time to get Chooch and they go off on their dork adventures. It’s hilarious to me, because he’ll knock on our door and say IS RILEY HOME like he’s just another neighborhood kid and not Chooch’s 24-year-old brother who is also a dad, lol. “Blake plays Pokemon Go?” I asked last week, and Chooch matter-of-factly said, “Yeah, he’s a member of the Pittsburgh Pokemon group on Discord.” OMG.)

I still don’t understand Pokemon Go.

And now it’s pouring down rain, which cut the humidity, so Henry and I will be nice and comfortable when we embark on our Kpop Dance Cardio journey later on tonight!

Also? This is my summer jam, which is unfortunate for Henry, who does not like Vixx.

Jun 092018
 

I used to write on here a lot about mental health and my own experience with being bi-polar, and being open about it was something I prided myself on because, after all, it’s not something to be ashamed of.

Have I been suicidal? Yes.

Have I been hospitalized? Yes.

Have I been over-medicated? Yes.

Have I self-harmed? Yes.

I don’t get into it very often on here anymore, but with two recent high-profile suicides shining a light on the issue again, all I see are tweets and Instagram posts reminding people that it’s OK to ask for help.

And this is great!! I love that there is so much love being spread on social media because it helps counter all the inevitable comments and obtuse beliefs that people who kill themselves are selfish or “deserve” it. I don’t care how rich you are, how wonderful your spouse is, how many exotic vacations you take – that doesn’t make a person exempt from mental illness. That shit doesn’t recognize social status.

Today I snapped and ranted about something to Henry:

When you reach a certain point of depression, numbness and ambivalence take over and frankly, maybe you don’t give a shit about asking for help because talking is so goddamn exhausting or you’re afraid you won’t be heard, or you don’t want to burden someone else. Asking for help is not an easy thing to do either. I’ll admit that I mostly just ride it out and those around me are none the wiser. #actingskillz

But second of all, can I tell you how many times in my life I have cried for help, and was met with eye rolls, smirks, flat out derision? Called a drama queen. Accused of “just wanting attention.” Told to “get over myself.”

The amateur explanations and justifications are cool too: “Is your period due?” and “You’re probably just hungry” are among my favorites.

You hear these things enough, and you tend to build walls. I’ve lost so many “friends” (good riddance!) for trying to be honest about what’s going on in my head, how I don’t want to go to their party because the thought of being in a room with strangers makes my throat feel like it has hands around it.

This is why the suicide hotline is available. I know, but sometimes you might just want a familiar shoulder to cry on.

So if someone is trying to open up to you about why they’re sad or feeling flat-out hopeless, try not to judge and rank the severity of their problems because what might sound like something that’s easy for you to shrug off might feel like a ton of bricks on that person’s back. And maybe they’re really struggling to explain it to you. It’s not easy pulling these vague thoughts and abstract emotions out of our hearts and brains and transforming them into some perfect, understandable, familiar package, like spun sugar on a stick.

Sometimes are all I can muster is an “I don’t know!!!” followed by a geyser of tears when someone asks me what’s wrong.

Yes, I talk to Henry about this a lot and he always holds my hand while I wade through through the muck and mire. And I take daily walks while running through the mental list of why my life is worth living, things to look forward to, memories that make me laugh. It’s a struggle, it requires effort, and the sooner we can get everyone on the same page where this is a real problem, not a “phase,” and it’s not going to go away if it’s ignored, then a ton of lives will be saved.

While there is definitely much less stigma than when I was diagnosed in the 90s, it still sometimes feels taboo to talk about, in my own experience, and I know I have definitely made some people uncomfortable with my honesty and bluntness on the subject. So too often, I keep my mouth shut.

What makes it easier to succumb to the sadness is all of the rampant hate in the world. Just walking around the streets of Pittsburgh on my lunch break, the prevalent vibe seems to be ANGER. People screaming at each in traffic, on the sidewalks, into their cellphones. So much anger and hate in the news, too.

I mean, we do live in an age where the go-to Internet roast is telling someone to kill themselves and the current US President is one of the biggest bullies of them all, so clearly there is a lot of work to be done.

Until then: Be patient. Be kind. Be open-minded. Be outspoken. Let’s all turn our phones off more often and paint a picture, write a letter, read a BOOK.

After all, we’re all going through this together.

Jun 082018
 

Well, today was Chooch’s last day of school thank god. For a minute though Henry and I were convinced that maybe it was actually next week and for some reason I felt panicked about this because I had already posted the above photo on Instagram, GOD FORBID don’t wanna get caught in a lie on zee social meeds.

I’m grateful that we had a relatively drama-free year right up until last week when I made Chooch check his grades and then let’s just say LETTER WRITIN’ ERIN emerged and a terse email was sent to the art teacher but that story turned out to have several layers to it and I worked late shift today and am too tired to regale my three readers (plus the 100s that have come here today because someone posted an old blog entry of mine about a county fair on Facebook and I’m not on there anymore so I can’t see where it was posted but I do expect to be getting some nasty comments at some point because I talked shit on ALL WALKS OF LIFE in that post).

Um anyway, farewell 6th grade, the grade that teaches kids the meaning of being “stressed out.” Trust me, some of the assignments Chooch had to do in his Communications class had him in such a harried state you’d have thought he was writing a college dissertation.

Jun 072018
 

My co-worker Missy was selling fundraiser pepperoni rolls a few weeks ago and normally I’d walk away because what does a vegetarian want with a pepperoni roll, but then I saw that the delivery day was June 6, which is Henry’s birthday, and Henry likes pepperoni rolls.

I know what you’re thinking: WOW ERIN DID SOMETHING SELFLESS FOR ONCE AND BOUGHT HENRY PEPPERONI ROLLS!

And you’d be half-right. I bought Henry 5 pepperoni rolls but it was mostly selfish because it was an easy out and now I would be able to say once again that I did something for his dumb birthday when he does nothing for mine.

I mean, it’s not like I’m keeping score or anything…

Before any celebratory pepperoni roll action took place, though, Henry had to come into Instagram like a wrecking ball. Our friend Alyson was sweet and remembered his birthday, so she posted an old photo of the two of them from one of the times she visited us after Chooch was born. She tagged him in it and I commented that it was going to make his day. The next thing I knew, he was replying to my comment with a bunch of jibberish and I was like, “OMG ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?!” and then after that he left another 20+ comments in quick succession and then texted me, “I just got temporarily banned from Instagram for posting to [sic] fast?” because he didn’t realize he had been butt-commenting, and for some reason, this just seemed so apropos: When Quinquagenarians Are Let Loose on Instagram!

After dinner, I came out with this flaming roll and Henry was all, “OH COME ON” because he “wasn’t hungry” but I was like “WE HAVE TO DO IT FOR THE BOOMERANG.”

All jokes aside though, life has been coming at us hard over the last few weeks so I knew all he would want was a normal, relaxing non-event. And brother, that’s just what he got. Chooch and I were moderately nice to him, he made us an easy dinner, and we started watching a new K-drama that we’ve both been really anticipating, him for the storyline, me for the SEO KANG-JOON:

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I MISSED HIS FACE BIG TIME.

I mean, Henry’s face. I missed it big time while I was at work.

He turned 53 this year and that isn’t really a milestone. Maybe next year Chooch and I will make another list of things we like about him since it will be an even number that we can split, and maybe when he turns 57 we can have a ketchup-themed party. WHO WANTS TO ACCEPT THE KETCHUP CAKE CHALLENGE?!

I think Henry was perfectly content. And like Nate pointed out at work today, I mean I did let him go to Korea with me, so…

Anyway, if you like some more Henry posts, I did a small round-up for one of his past birthdays here, and also here is the list Chooch and I made when he turned the big 5-0, lol.

Jun 062018
 

When I first got into kpop several years ago, I was all about the girl groups. 4Minute’s “Hot Issue” was the first kpop song I bought on iTunes because I loooooved the kpopx routine for it so much, and I even made it my alarm for awhile. But then I started watching actual kpop music videos and DON’T HATE but that’s when the girls kind of sort of got put in the corner in favor of the boy groups because have you SEEN THOSE BOY GROUPS?!

Hold on, let me go and walk this off for a minute or 4.

Honestly though, the girl groups are just as hot as the boys and we should all be getting way more hyped on them, so I’m going to share you with, for Woman Crush Wednesday, several videos from girl idols that I’m super stoked on lately.

First up is the brand new video from Fromis_9!

These girls are performing at KCON later this month and at first I was feeling “meh” about it, but something about this song really hooked me and now I’m really looking forward to seeing them! So the title of the song translates to something like “pit-a-pat” or “throbbing” in Korean, which is definitely what happens to my heart when I see a cat, too! And if you’re wondering why there is a “9” in their name when there are only 8 of them, I guess one of them recently left the group.

Probably, and allow me to make some generalizations and assumptions here because this is just some dinky blog and not a fucking college thesis, when people think of kpop, they probably think of what you just watched (assuming that you watched it! MORE ASSUMPTIONS! YOU GET AN ASSUMPTION, AND YOU GET AN ASSUMPTION, ASSUMPTIONS FOR EVERYONE!): super cutesy and cheesy. I mean, sure, this is definitely its own chunk of the k-niche.

But there’s so much more….

Like (G)I-DLE!

(G)I-DLE is the new girl group on Cube and I think they’ve got a bright future. This song in particular blew up FAST and they were owning it on all of the music countdown shows. It’s also Henry’s latest favorite workout routine, lol.

I’m obsessed with their name because I think, and I could be wrong because I didn’t see anything the last time I searched, it’s a play on Korean and English. So, my take is that (G)=girl and idle=idol (maybe?). The Korean is (여자)아이들, and the part in parentheses means woman, but when you combine it with the part that follows, the entire word is “girls.” So I thought that maybe since they’re breaking the “woman” part off on its own in parentheses, the part that’s left means “children” because 아이 means “child” in Korean and the 들 pluralizes it; but when you say it out loud, it sounds like the English word “idol.” I’m probably way off and over-analyzing this but I thought it was kind of interesting!

*ASYTHMA BREATH*

Anyway, I think they’re fierce and edgy with just the right amount of playfulness.

My next pick is from a group who has since disbanded but I wanted to include it because this video is so fun and they were so fantastic while they lasted:

IOI was the final product of a kpop survival show called Produce 101 and their contract was only for about a year, I think. They’ve all mostly moved on to other groups so it helped boost a lot of careers, for sure. For the longest time, this was my favorite song by them:

I still get so giddy when it comes on in the car and I start fake-punching Henry in the face which he loves when he’s trying to drive!

My last pick is from a new subgroup of Pristin (which is actually where one of the IOI girls ended up!):

This is another group that balances both sides so well and everything they wear in this video makes me yearn for the Delia*s catalogues from the 90s! Earlier today, Lori and I were talking about Danity Kane and Pristin V gives me some subtle DK vibes, for sure. I miss Danity Kane so much and I really think they could have done wonders for the state of American girl groups and by state I mean lack of.

I just think Korea has this formula patented at this point and will America ever catch up? Who knows, and also, who cares because I just gave you a bunch of girl groups to care about, and it shouldn’t even matter where they’re from!

If you’re feeling this at all, I have good news for you: the queens otherwise known as BLACKPINK are scheduled to make their comeback this month and I promise you, you will love them so hard. Here, I’ll leave you with one of their videos because I’m a nice blogger who cares about the well-being about your eyes and ears:

Of course, there are a shit ton of other girl groups out there, and ones that are much more popular too, but these are just my CURRENT faves. If you gave any of these a whirl, let me know what you think!

Jun 052018
 

I’m going to make this short and sweet because I have a headache and I think I was poisoned.

—-THE PHONE CALL—-

Henry received a phone call from a friend on Saturday and for some reason, Chooch and I found this to be HI-larious.

“For some reason,” lol.

Immediately, Chooch and I activated our PEST SWITCH and clung to Henry with our ears pressed against his phone. He kept shrugging us off and eventually was able to get up from the couch (hello it was his fault for starting a phone conversation in the same room as us to begin with) and slowly moved onto the back porch.

I say “slowly” because we were hanging off of him. Finally, he turned around and snapped at us, getting busted by his friend on the other end who thought Henry was yelling at him. The last thing we heard before the porch door slammed in our faces was, “No not you. I’m talking to these two nebby* kids.”

*(Nebby means nosy if you live in Pittsburgh. YAY FOR LEARNING.)

“I bet he’s talking to the manager of Blush,” Chooch said, because we love to speculate that Henry is a regular at this stripclub downtown.

Then I had the brilliant idea to go outside and try to hear the conversation from below the open porch windows, but our fucking mechanic neighbor was drilling in his garage and some broad in a house behind us was screaming at her dogs. RUDE.

We tried to go back inside and act like we were just hanging out in the kitchen near the porch door for no reason, what, I’m just over here super naturally sweeping the kitchen floor like I always do why is this strange, but Henry caught us and started flashing us “I WILL KILL YOU” and “YOU FUCKERS CAN STARVE TONIGHT” glares with his eyes and then flipped us off too, wow, such class.

Chooch puked from laughing so hard.

BUT THEN I HAD THE BEST IDEA EVER.

“Chooch, go ask Blake if we can come in and try to hear through his side of the porch!” I hoarsely whispered. I hung back inside our front door because Blake is kind of an adult now and I wasn’t sure if he would be like, “Grow up, guys” but then dumb Chooch kept tossing glances at me from Blake’s front porch while he was asking, and then Blake poked his head out and looked over and saw me half-hiding, so he was just like, “Oh for god’s sake, come on in.”

Eavesdropping from Blake’s side of the house! We couldn’t really hear anything but baritone muffles. :(

By this point, we had lost interest and then Henry was off the phone and we were like, “What, you were on the phone?”

I don’t know, but something about this gave me Sunday Lock Out Vibes and I couldn’t stop laughing about it when I tried to tell people at work on Monday and they were just like, “Why are you like this.”

—-THE WHITE PIZZA INQUIRY—-

On Sunday, the three of us went to Anthony’s Coal-Fire Pizza to surprise my dad with a birthday lunch. Since we arrived first, we were perusing the menu trying to find a happy-medium for a large pizza the three of us could share. AW, A FAMILY PIZZA.

“Do you like white pizza?” I asked Chooch, a gentle inquiry if you ask me, yet this innocent question made him unhinged, you guys. He just snapped the fuck out on me.

“SERIOUSLY?! NO! NO, I DO NOT LIKE WHITE PIZZA! OH MY GOD, HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GOING TO ASK ME THAT?!” he screeched, and I was honestly stunned for a second, but don’t worry, Bitch Mommy came sprinting out on the heels of my initial stunned reaction.

So then the two of us were full-fledged quarreling in the middle of a restaurant and Henry was mouthing pleas at us. I DON’T READ LIPS, BITCH. Somehow though, the subject changed to Henry’s alleged conversation with the manager of Blush the previous day so then we remembered that we were wasting our energy fighting each other when we should have been using it to make fun of Henry. I think Henry was just happy that we weren’t starting kinetic ire-fires anymore because he actually told us that he was kicked out of a strip club in Florida too, not just Texas!

“That one wasn’t my fault though. It was the guys I was with,” he said, while ALMOST-KIND-OF SMILING.

WHOA.

Then my dad and Ryan arrived and luckily Chooch was able to restrain his shitty preteen attitude and we had a very lovely birthday lunch with my dad who I don’t see often enough and that’s totally my fault. Meanwhile, the waitress who brought over our pizza exclaimed out of nowhere how adorable Chooch is (??) and he sat there with this smug “I know” look on his face and Henry was like, “He’s only cute when he’s quiet” and THAT IS THE TRUTH. Then our waiter was all, “WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING?” because Chooch had his DS with him after a year of not caring about it (kids, amirite) and then they bonded over Pokemon and all I could think was, “BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?! I’M HERE TOO!”

But I got to tell my dad and Ryan about our trip to Korea so that made up for it not getting any attention from the waitstaff.

Anyway the whole point of this is that I was obsessing over the whole white pizza fiasco thing because if there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I will latch on to the dumbest thing you tell me, whether it’s something you hate (don’t tell me you hate clowns, let’s put it that way) or some embarrassing moment you had that I witnessed — I will hold these things close to my chest and you’ll never know when I’ll throw it back in your face in the form of a greeting card or a homemade t-shirt.

Or a painting, like this one that I made for Barb which features her least favorite actor, Bill Paxton.

Naturally, I started trolling Chooch as soon as we got home. The first thing I did was run into his room and leave him a white pizza message on his whiteboard. (And please, don’t call CPS on me for the other message. I don’t even own a belt.)

And then it happened, my giddy obsession grew strong enough to push me out of painting retirement long enough to make him this wooden plaque, which he is less than pleased about but I think he secretly is craving white pizza now.

I think his next birthday cake should be a white pizza.

Anyway, I haven’t felt this inspired since HAM SANDWICH AF, when I made a commemorative painting:

OK, now I have to go lay down. I’ve had a headache all day and then it turns out Henry does too and we’ve since determined that it’s possibly from when I sprayed Chooch’s white pizza plaque with varnish in a non-ventilated area. It was nice knowing you, Internet friends.